Yakubu hat-trick sinks Fulham
Nigerian scores three to send Everton to seventh in the league
Last Updated: 08/12/07 6:10pm
A second-half Yakubu hat-trick saw Everton beat Fulham 3-0 at Goodison Park to rise to seventh in the league.
Fulham held Everton to a goal-less first-half of few chances, the best of which fell to Tim Cahill who put his free-header wide.
But the game came alive in the second period and Yakubu put Everton in front in the 51st minute when he netted the rebound after Antti Niemi did well to save a Cahill volley.
The Nigerian then scored his second after Phil Jagielka flicked on a corner, before sealing the win with a fine check and shot in the 79th minute.
Fulham have yet to win away in the Premier League this season and the way his team capitulated in the second-half will worry boss Lawrie Sanchez.
In driving rain on a miserable, cold afternoon, the hosts struggled to achieve any authority in the first half.
Two corners in the opening minutes could easily have seen the visitors go ahead.
Firstly Simon Davies' corner was met by Diomansy Kamara, with a flicked header flashing across goal. Then Steven Davis produced a chip into the box which Tim Howard had to bravely punch off Dejan Stefanovic's head.
Everton were equally quick into action, Joleon Lescott saw a hooked shot from Mikel Arteta's corner saved by Niemi, with the Finnish goalkeeper needing to be at his best to touch over a deflected Arteta free-kick.
Kamara got himself booked for failing to retreat 10 yards at a free-kick after 11 minutes, and the game deteriorated rapidly.
Everton lost Leighton Baines after 22 minutes with Jagielka coming on to initially fill the left-back slot before being moved to central defence, allowing Lescott to move to the left.
The quality and the conditions got worse; Stefanovic mis-hit 15 yards out and Danny Murphy saw a first-time shot skid wide from further Fulham set-pieces.
Half-time could not come quickly enough.
But six minutes into the second half Everton's new-found urgency saw them take the lead.
Lescott's lob into the box was mis-headed by Stefanovic and the ball fell for Cahill to hook goalwards from a difficult angle.
Niemi made a fine save, but the ball rolled out for a somewhat surprised Yakubu to steer over the line from 10 yards.
Fulham hit back with a snap shot from Clint Dempsey which Howard pushed away, but this was hard work now for the West Londoners, with Everton clearly responding to Moyes' half-time team talk.
And it got worse for Fulham after 61 minutes. Poor marking after Arteta's corner allowed Jagielka to flick the ball on, and Yakubu to rise unchallenged to head home from a yard out.
Fulham sent on David Healy for Dempsey three minutes later, but Everton were in full swing by now and the task for a ragged Fulham worsened by the minute.
Elliot Omozusi was booked for dissent after running 50 yards to complain to a linesman over the absence of an offside decision when Arteta almost made it three.
And after 79 minutes Yakubu completed his hat-trick. He side-stepped Stefanovic with ease in the box to guide the ball past Niemi.
Eight minutes from the end, Johnson and McFadden took over from Cahill and Yakubu, clearly with Wednesday's cup tie in mind.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|11||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|